LAS VEGAS, Nev. – After years of playing the Pac-12 Football Championship game in Levi Stadium, located in Santa Clara, California, the Pac-12 announced on Wednesday that the championship game would be moved to Las Vegas, Nevada.
The game is currently only set to be played there for the 2020 and 2021 seasons. The championship game will be hosted in the brand new stadium the city is building for the Raiders. The stadium is still in construction and won’t be finished until July of 2020, putting the Pac-12 Championship in the most modern stadium in the country, with the Los Angeles Stadium not set to complete until 2021-2022.
While Levi Stadium, the home of the San Francisco 49ers, is a fine location for a championship game, it hasn’t been ideal for the Pac-12 attendance-wise. The championship game was founded in 2011 when Utah and Colorado joined the Pac-10, making it the Pac-12. The first three games were held at universities involved in the championship game, with the past five years seeing Levi Stadium host it.
The most-attended championship was in 2015 when nearby Stanford was playing in the championship. Things hit an all-time low last year when two schools that weren’t located nearby, Washington and Utah, made it to the championship. Last season only 35,134 people showed up to the game, the lowest since moving to Levi Stadium by 10,000 people.
This season will be the final championship game played at Levi Stadium before the next two are played in Las Vegas.
“Our Pac-12 universities and entire Conference are thrilled to have our 2020 and 2021 football championship event take place in one of the most anticipated new venues in sports,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. “Highlighting and showcasing our programs on one of the biggest stages in a major destination market is a tremendous opportunity for our student-athletes, universities and fans, and consistent with our mission to create the best possible experiences for student-athletes.”
The University of Washington has won the Pac-12 Championship two of the last three years and Washington State University was one game away from making its first appearance last season.